Close your eyes and picture a world without the internet. Actually, don’t close them, because this blog is going to explain the importance of the internet for the self storage industry, and more importantly, your facility. Long gone are the days of phone book marketing, and in are the days where having a digital marketing strategy is key to success.

Today, we’ll be discussing a few of the ways your facility can engage with potential tenants online, as well as the risks involved for facilities that choose not to take advantage of digital marketing and modern websites.  

Business Without the Internet

Imagine your facility without any digital strategies. Let’s pretend that instead of modern marketing, your facility only uses phone books and high school football stadium signs to advertise your facility. That may seem fine to you. After all, it’s worked in the past, right? According to MSN, 70% of Americans don’t open their phone books anymore. Even more important, more than half of the United States have replaced their phone book with an internet search. This means that phone book listings and ads are costing your facility thousands and providing a minimal return on investment.

The high school football stadium sign you pay for every year is great for brand awareness and showing the community support, but are parents renting while they’re at a game? Even if potential tenants tried to go on your website during halftime, they can’t rent if you don’t have a website, so they forget about you and find a more convenient facility that offers online rentals so they can rent whenever it’s convenient for them.. After all, they’re busy too, and don’t want to stop by a leasing office if there’s a better option!

Consider your competition! If they have websites, online rentals, and a digital marketing strategy, they’re connecting potential tenants with available units because they’re not aware your facility exists. Even worse, potential tenants may have skimmed past your facility because they couldn’t find more information online. The big-box names and REITs all have digital marketing strategies and online ads. They’re growing while your facility struggles to compete for tenants. If this sounds like something you want to avoid, keep reading.

Fine, I Need the Internet. Now What?

If your facility is still behind the digital times, begin with a website design. Work with an industry-specific website development company to build a website that offers online rentals, rent and reserve call-to-actions, and premier features that can help your website stand out from your competition. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but make sure your new website is mobile-friendly, Search Engine Optimized, and offers a Progressive Web App. 

Progressive Web Apps are the modern version of traditional mobile apps. Picture everything your favorite mobile apps can do, but with better security and while using less data and storage. Progressive Web Apps increase repeat visits by more than 150% more for companies such as Trivago.

Once you have a great website and online rental tool set up, it’s time to start implementing digital marketing strategies. Basics include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which influences how your facility ranks on Google and other major search engines. We’ve talked a lot about SEO in the past and what you can do to improve your facility rankings, but if you’re not sure why it matters, consider the following.

87% of smartphone users use a search engine every day, and Internet Innovation estimates there are more than 224 million smartphone users in the United States alone. If your facility isn’t showing up on Google or is ranking low, this is a huge potential market your facility is missing out on. 

Consider pricing. When someone walks into a leasing office, do you try to upsell them? Of course! Moving your rental process online doesn’t have to mean giving that up. In fact, with recent industry innovations such as our 3-D Value Pricing Map™, you can increase revenue with custom-set “good, better, best” pricing for your facility. This value pricing feature allows your facility to charge more for the most desirable units, often at above-market rates. Consider the units that tenants naturally prefer, such as ones near security cameras, gates, or the leasing office. By using value pricing services, it automatically pulls relevant data to increase rental rates for prime units!

Preparing for 2020

As we prepare for 2020, it’s clear that the internet is crucial for every aspect of the self storage industry. Facilities use it to collect data, set prices, track rentals, and find new tenants. If you aren’t using these available features already, you should consider it to increase occupancy rates and create more satisfied tenants with a convenient rental process. 
For more information about how to expand your facility’s online presence to increase occupancy rates and generate more revenue, please call or email our Sales team at sales@storagegroupinc.com or 888-465-6247.

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